GDB XV: Passing and faceoffs and goals, oh my!

Jason Gregor
November 02 2009 11:21AM

Courage wolf says score goals or else

All of a sudden the Oilers can’t score, but even though they were blanked three times in the last week, they have scored the 7th most goals in the league. Through 14 games their offence has been fine, but like previous years, they are giving up too many goals.

The Oilers have surrendered the 7th most goals, 43, so far this year. Injuries and illness to Sheldon Souray, Steve Staios and Lubomir Visnovsky have played a role in that, but I still see too many turnovers and errant passes if this team wants to be more than a .500 team.

Visnovsky is feeling better and his return should help the PP and cut down on turnovers. Staios is skating with the team, but highly doubtful for tonight. The bad news, like I wrote last week, is that Souray isn’t getting any better. Concussions are unpredictable and it looks like Souray might be out until December.

I don’t just blame the D-men though.

Passing the buck... and the puck

The forwards have been just as guilty, if not more, of horrendous passes. How often do the Oilers miss a teammate with a simple eight-to-ten-foot pass? Bad passing has been a problem for a few years, and I believe it starts in practice. The players need to demand better execution from one another.

Their leaders need to be more vocal about this.

I don’t like to compare players or teams, but the Detroit Red Wing players demand crisp and accurate passes in practice. I’ve watched a Wings practice and the players — not the coaches — expect good, crisp and accurate passes.

It helps when Nick Lidstrom along with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavol Datsyuk are their leaders, but at this level every player should be able to make tape-to-tape passes in practice.

I will chart tonight’s game and list how many times the Oilers either miss a pass, or just dump the puck away when they have complete control. Lately, many players will have possession of the puck without being pressured, and they will just dump it into the neutral zone, or deep in the offensive zone. The problem with that thinking is this team still isn’t good at retrieving pucks.

Father-son combo

When Steve Tambellini was hired in 2008, some jokingly wondered if he’d try and acquire his son, Jeff. Most would have ripped him for making such a move, but right now the young Tambellini is red hot with five goals in four games. He tallied a hat trick v. Buffalo on Saturday and had two goals in Montreal last Monday. Prior to last week, he had never had a two-goal game.

Tambellini has six goals in eight games and is tied for the team lead in goals with unheralded Jeff Moulson. Moulson, was a 9th draft pick for the Penguins in 2003. He never played for them, and had six goals and ten points in 29 games with the Kings over two seasons, before signing with the Islanders this summer.

Moulson along with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo lead the Islanders with 10 points.

Know thy enemy

The Islanders are 15th on the PP and 8th on the PK, while the Oilers come in 16th on the PP and 14th when down a man. The big advantage will be in the dot. As a team the Islanders are 4th in the league winning 53.4% of their draws, while the Oilers are a 27th winning only 47.1%.

The four centres tonight will be Shawn Horcoff (50.5%), Sam Gagner (43.8), Gilbert Brule (50.5) and Andrew Cogliano (36.5) and none of them are above average.

With Mike Comrie (54.6%) and Dustin Penner (64.5%), I wonder if Quinn will start to use them more in faceoff situations. Penner has only taken 31 draws, and I doubt he could maintain that much success, but tonight is the 15th game of the season and we haven’t seen any improvement in the dot. In fact, the Oilers have gotten worse in recent weeks.

The Islanders don’t rely on just one guy like the Oilers. Tavares has taken 195 draws winning 49.2%, while Richard Park has also taken 195 winning 57.4%. Josh Bailey has taken 152 and is 51.3% while their best guy is Frans Nielson who has won 53 of the 85 draws he’s taken.

The lack of success in the dot hasn’t hurt the Oilers offensively, but it is a big reason why they have given up an average of 33.7 shots a game. Only Colorado is giving up more.

Look for a combination of Fernando Pisani, Brule and Patrick O’Sullivan tonight. Horcoff will play with Ales Hemsky and Penner. Gagner will centre JF Jacques and Robert Nilsson while Cogliano is back in the middle with Zack Stortini and Ethan Moreau.

Looks like Visnovsky is back in and Theo Peckham comes out.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#201 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:11PM
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@jeanshorts

Sadly, I actually hear stories like this a lot. *shudder*

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#202 Eric Johnson
November 02 2009, 07:11PM
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Wanye wrote:

@jeanshorts

I have a similar tale. In the absence of a hockey game I will tell it too. Feel free to add in anyone:

One time in about grade two a girl was going across the monkey bars. Given it was early spring and there was a big puddle underneath the bars, this was considered a test of endurance to make it across.

A girl was going across and a 7 year old Wanye waited until she was directly in the middle of the bars. Then I walked over and pulled her pants down. Problem was - she seemed to have under dressed for school that day and was running commando.

Once she realized what I had done, she screamed and let go of the bars and fell face first into the puddle. I ran away and pretended to play soccer for the rest of recess.

I haven't seen her since.

That is the single greatest 7 yr old story I have heard.

Except the one about a 7yr old doug Weight that single handedly ended the cold war and simultaneously not only lost his virginity to a super model but also scored a double hat trick for his midget hockey team.

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#203 Eric Johnson
November 02 2009, 07:13PM
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i love doug weight.... *sigh*

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#204 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:14PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

You can now find that girl sucking peen on Jasper Ave in order to pay for her life crippling meth addiction.

The butterfly effect. One ripple creates another and so on and so forth until one day you find yourself tossing a baby in a dumpster because you don't have time to take care of it. There's crack to be had!

Who has time for a baby in the digital age anyway?

Wherever that girl may be today I GUARANTEE she remembers it. Teachers had to help her out of the puddle and she had to wear clothes from the lost and found for the rest of the day.

I felt no remorse. Who doesn't wear underwear to elementary school?

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#205 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 07:14PM
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Eric Johnson wrote:

That is the single greatest 7 yr old story I have heard.

Except the one about a 7yr old doug Weight that single handedly ended the cold war and simultaneously not only lost his virginity to a super model but also scored a double hat trick for his midget hockey team.

Was that the same day he cured Polio, invented Youtube and rescued an entire orphanage that was on fire? Or am I mixing up my dates?

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#206 Eric Johnson
November 02 2009, 07:14PM
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Did Penner sell his soul to have a career year but has to sacrifice the Oilers being outshot every fracking god damned game....SON OF A..

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#207 Librarian Mike
November 02 2009, 07:15PM
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Are the Oilers planning on taking any more shots tonight, or is 20 some kind of quota?

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#208 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 07:15PM
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Wanye wrote:

Who has time for a baby in the digital age anyway?

Wherever that girl may be today I GUARANTEE she remembers it. Teachers had to help her out of the puddle and she had to wear clothes from the lost and found for the rest of the day.

I felt no remorse. Who doesn't wear underwear to elementary school?

SLUTS! That's who! Would anyone be surprised if that same girl had a tribal butterfly on her lower back that's seen more seamen than US Navy?

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#209 Eric Johnson
November 02 2009, 07:16PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Was that the same day he cured Polio, invented Youtube and rescued an entire orphanage that was on fire? Or am I mixing up my dates?

Yeah same day. You know what doug weight calls that day? .... Tuesday. Cause he is that awesome 24/7

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#210 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:16PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Was that the same day he cured Polio, invented Youtube and rescued an entire orphanage that was on fire? Or am I mixing up my dates?

Time does not exist for Doug. He just is and always will be.

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#211 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:17PM
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@Librarian Mike

Looks that way. Le sigh!

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#212 Librarian Mike
November 02 2009, 07:18PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Was that the same day he cured Polio, invented Youtube and rescued an entire orphanage that was on fire? Or am I mixing up my dates?

No. That was just before, but it was after he blew up the Death Star.

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#213 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:19PM
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Man is it dark out. Feels like midnight and yet the clock reads 7:18 PM. At least we have the Oilers game to wat-

oh.

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#214 Matt Henderson
November 02 2009, 07:19PM
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Not watching, just drove home. I am convinced that Robert Nilsson did something with Ol' Rod's daughter, because the venom that comes out of Philip's mouth is relentless.

That said, Nilsson deserves every bit of it.

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#215 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:20PM
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These killing whale ads actually make me like my - er PPV feed - more.

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#216 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:20PM
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I'm thinking that killing whales might be more interesting than this game.

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#217 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 07:21PM
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Nice, pull the goalie, one more guy out there to give the puck away.

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#218 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:23PM
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WTF is the purpose of this? We're NOT going to score 2 goals, we can't even score 1 goal in 40 mins of play.

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#219 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:23PM
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A We Want Witt chant....

*blows brains all over wall*

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#220 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:24PM
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I actually want him to score.

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#221 Librarian Mike
November 02 2009, 07:24PM
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BBW: Bring Back Weight!

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#222 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:24PM
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It's creepy that Witt's hair is longer than mine, and I'm a girl.

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#223 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 07:25PM
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Man I love the fight in Gagner this year. Awesome.

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#224 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:26PM
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Rigger wrote:

It's creepy that Witt's hair is longer than mine, and I'm a girl.

*stops tearing Oiler posters off the wall and stares in complete shock*

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#225 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:26PM
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Nice headlock on Gags there.

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#226 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:27PM
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@Wanye

Thought I was a dude, eh? LOL. You're not alone there.

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#227 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:27PM
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I for one am glad this game keeps having all these icing calls. Stretches out the fun!

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#228 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 07:27PM
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So awesome. 3 seconds left and rather than firing it on net let's make fancy passes along the blue line. I LOVE THIS TEAM!

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#229 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:28PM
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MORE FUNGHOE

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#230 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:28PM
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@jeanshorts

You gotta love the announcers when they're talking about Gags going off for roughing. "Who cares, just get Witt on the ice" Pfffff!

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#231 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:29PM
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*walks into room*

Oh hey everybody. It's 7:29 PM. Must be time for the Oilers game to start isn't it....

Oh.

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#232 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:29PM
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@Wanye

LOL, I'm not going to forget that now.

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#233 Librarian Mike
November 02 2009, 07:30PM
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So.............Moreau scored, eh?

*clap......eh f*ck it*

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#234 Dan the Man
November 02 2009, 07:31PM
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Did the flu kill the part of their brains that controls their hockey abilities?

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#235 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 07:31PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

So.............Moreau scored, eh?

*clap......eh f*ck it*

Someone was calling for Rollie to let in a softie or 2 this game. Wish granted!

Too bad that was our only shot on net.

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#236 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:34PM
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Does that serbian website that streams all the games for free have a stream with an alternate Oilers team that is awesome?

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#237 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 07:35PM
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You know what else is awesome? 4 MORE PPV GAMES THIS MONTH!

Thank god the Oilers have a pristine record when they play those games.

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#238 Salvo
November 02 2009, 07:37PM
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Would anyone like a free forecheck?

Come on down.

Sigh

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#239 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:39PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

You know what else is awesome? 4 MORE PPV GAMES THIS MONTH!

Thank god the Oilers have a pristine record when they play those games.

The only thing sadder than that is the knowledge that I will probably buy them.

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#240 Salvo
November 02 2009, 07:42PM
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@Wanye

They may lose the next PPV game but more whales will live.

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#241 roughneck
November 02 2009, 07:42PM
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what the number for gregors bad pass stat?

Ill take the over

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#242 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:43PM
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I dunno if I'm shelling out money to see that crap. I'll probably kill more whales I'm thinking.

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#243 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:45PM
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I refuse to leave this site until I watch an Oilers game of quality.

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#244 Salvo
November 02 2009, 07:46PM
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@roughneck

then there's the stumbling stat.

First line had some energy. zero conviction along with the rest of them.

The flu won right?

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#245 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:47PM
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Salvo wrote:

then there's the stumbling stat.

First line had some energy. zero conviction along with the rest of them.

The flu won right?

Assuming the flu took the form of Brendan Witt, yes the flu won.

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#246 Eddie Shore
November 02 2009, 07:55PM
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I'm convinced, this team is just bad. End of story. At one point in tonights game I seriously questioned why I'm an oiler fan.......

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#247 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:58PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

I'm convinced, this team is just bad. End of story. At one point in tonights game I seriously questioned why I'm an oiler fan.......

Gunner,

I am here waiting for just such a crisis of faith. How would you like me to break you out of your rut?

I can smash you in the face with an Oilers branded garbage can or force you to watch the other 81 Islanders games this year and you can remember why you prefer the Oil.

You pick, I'm here to help.

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#248 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:59PM
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Wow, someone on the OMB just posted that at this time last year we had two more points than we do now, despite our decent start. *shudder*

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#249 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 08:00PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

I'm convinced, this team is just bad. End of story. At one point in tonights game I seriously questioned why I'm an oiler fan.......

It's not like 19832 regular NHL'ers on the roster are hurt at the same time or anything.

Things look super bleak right now, absolutely. But once we get more than 3 NHL caliber players back in the line up I'm sure this team will start playing up to it's potential.

But I agree it's definitely not fun to watch a team suck the bag this horribly and consistently. Then again we could all be Leaf fans right?

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#250 Wanye
November 02 2009, 08:05PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

It's not like 19832 regular NHL'ers on the roster are hurt at the same time or anything.

Things look super bleak right now, absolutely. But once we get more than 3 NHL caliber players back in the line up I'm sure this team will start playing up to it's potential.

But I agree it's definitely not fun to watch a team suck the bag this horribly and consistently. Then again we could all be Leaf fans right?

I couldn't possibly cheer for the Leafs. I like hockey.

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